Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel – 15 June 2009

PRESENT:  Councillor Wilson in the chair.

Councillors C Sherwood (vice-chair), Mrs Bromby, Cawsey, Sidell, Simpson and Whiteley.

Statutory Co-opted Members: Mr P Bacon and Mrs A Dunkerley (Parent Governor Representatives), Mr W Egan and Mrs W Witter (Church Representatives)

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

83  DECLARATIONS – OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests.

No whip was declared.

84  PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests received

85  (4)  ANNUAL AUDIT AND INSPECTION LETTER – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the council’s annual audit and inspection letter provided by its external auditors, the Audit Commission.  The letter was attached as an appendix to the report.  Each year the letter gave an overall summary assessment of the council, drawing on audit, inspection and performance assessment work.

The Annual Audit and Inspection Letter highlighted improvement actions that needed to be taken by the council.  Of particular interest to overview and scrutiny was the comment from the Inspectors that ‘the scrutiny function did not sufficiently engage in performance management’.  However, the Service Director informed the panel that this was now being addressed.

The Service Director also reminded members that the Annual Audit and Inspection Letter could be used to assist the scrutiny panel when formulating their work programme and specific reference was made to the teenage conception rate that had been highlighted as area of concern.

The members of the scrutiny panel then engaged in a discussion on the council’s Annual Audit and Inspection Letter.

Resolved – That the council’s Annual Audit and Inspection Letter be noted.

86  SCHOOL ABSENCE REVIEW – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Scrutiny Brief for the review into school absence and also three questionnaires that had been drafted for parents of children within school, Governors and also Head Teachers.  Members were asked to consider the documents.

Concerns were expressed over the remit of the review and whether examining behaviour, exclusions, term time holidays and truancy would make the review too big.

After further discussions it was agreed that once all the figures had been collated from the necessary departments, a decision would be made as to what areas would be covered within this particular review.  A suggestion was proposed that if all areas were deemed necessary to the review, whether it would be practical to work as two sub groups with regular reporting back to the full panel.  It was agreed that this could be considered.

Members reviewed the draft questionnaires that had been circulated, amendments were suggested and noted for alterations.

The Chair requested that the Scunthorpe Telegraph be contacted, to highlight through the media the importance of the review and the need for the parents consultation.

Resolved – That the position be noted.

87  (5) LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – MAY TO AUGUST 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for May to August 2009.

The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis.  Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.

Resolved – That the position be noted.